eCommerce accounts for almost 20% of all retail sales. And with more people embracing the convenience of online shopping, that number is likely to increase even more in the future.
But at the same time, new eCommerce startups are facing steeper competition as well. On one hand, they have to compete against other startups and more established small-to-medium stores. But they’re also always competing against industry giants like Amazon or Walmart, who have unlimited marketing budgets, low prices, and a broad selection of products.
So, how can a small eCommerce store that’s just starting out find its place in the market?
Well, small eCommerce stores actually have some advantages that can help them stand out and build a loyal following through innovative digital advertising campaigns that leverage the appeal of being smaller and more specialized.
Let’s look at a few marketing strategies you can start implementing as soon as today.
Develop a Social Media Presence
Social media marketing is hard to beat when it comes to ROI for eCommerce stores. And the best part is, it’s ideally suited for small startups that are working on a shoestring budget and want to start building a loyal following.
Many brands have been launched by creating engaging content on Instagram and quickly building an audience of Instagram followers. Then, that same audience can be leveraged by running special promotions, introducing new products, and driving sales in the process.
You can also use social media to showcase user-generated content, which not only shows your products in action but also helps keep your community engaged and eager to participate with your brand’s content.
Over time, you can even build a community that interacts with each other and not just with your brand, providing a massive boost to your brand loyalty and making it much easier to get repeat sales from the same customers.
Build a Solid SEO Foundation
SEO takes a lot of work. And the results often don’t come for many months. And because of that, many eCommerce startup owners are hesitant about focusing their attention on SEO, thinking that they need more immediate results if the store is going to grow and survive.
However, while SEO can be complicated and requires effort, the results you can eventually achieve make it potentially the most powerful eCommerce marketing strategy you could use.
Paid marketing channels will always have their place in eCommerce marketing, but SEO serves as a foundational method that provides a stable stream of free customers that are already primed to want what you are selling. What’s more, since your store appears for relevant search queries, that makes your brand more trustworthy as one of the top providers for the products you offer.
SEO also requires good on-site practices, which will make your website easier to use, faster, and more convenient for users. And that in itself can have a significant impact on how many people end up buying from you.
Finally, to make SEO work, you’ll need content. And as you develop helpful articles and guides about your products, that information will not just help your SEO efforts but will also help reassure and educate your customers about what products to choose and why they should buy from you.
Utilize Influencer Marketing
Even though influencer marketing could be considered a part of social media, it’s a distinct enough strategy to require mentioning separately. And that’s because, with influencer marketing, you don’t necessarily need to have a strong social media presence yourself (although it is helpful) but can instead use the following of a prominent figure in your niche and get your offers in front of them.
The entire industry of influencer marketing has been built on eCommerce businesses promoting products, as it’s an ideal solution for eCommerce startups who don’t have a large budget but need to build their audience quickly.
Many new eCommerce store owners are hesitant about using influencer marketing because they’re afraid of paying too much for A-list influencers to promote their products. But in reality, there are niche social media figures you can work with at all levels, ranging from just a few thousand to hundreds of thousands or even millions of subscribers.
And even if you work with a less prominent influencer, the only thing that matters is that their audience is engaged and aligned with who you are trying to target. Getting a few thousand people to come to your site and buy products can still make a huge difference and help fast-track your eCommerce startup’s growth.
Over time, as you build a network of influencers who you know and trust, it can become a central part of your efforts, helping you run far-reaching campaigns that introduce new products, let audiences know about special offers, and keep your brand in the minds of thousands of eager buyers.
Finding the right marketing strategies for an eCommerce startup isn’t always easy. With steep competition and a limited budget, it can seem that there’s no way to get a steady stream of prospective buyers to your site.
But if you take the time to build a following on social media, remain patient as you grow your SEO presence, and partner up with the right influencers in your niche, you can quickly build a loyal following of buyers who will help sustain and grow your business.